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UMCES, USMx: Storytelling with Data using Socio-environmental Report Cards

Socio-environmental report cards have proven to be THE tool to effect positive change. Join us as we explore proven techniques to synthesize data, engage the local community, inform decision-making, and drive policy for any environmental or sustainability challenge.

5 weeks
5–8 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

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Starts Dec 1

About this course

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Imagine if you had the tools that would galvanize volunteers to protect their local river, inspire politicians to fund restoration activities, or stimulate engineers to devise ways to reduce pollution. Socio-environmental report cards synthesize data from scientists and volunteers and convert it into an image-rich format that is easily accessible to a wide stakeholder audience.

Report card grades also tap into a powerful human motivator: peer pressure. Civic leaders and community members can compare their grades with their neighbors, and we have learned that these comparisons lead to a desire for better environmental outcomes in their own backyard.

For nearly two decades, our team has worked with local river protection groups to develop comprehensive assessments of iconic ecosystems like the Chesapeake Bay (United States of America) and the Great Barrier Reef (Australia). These socio-environmental report cards have been used to catalyze improvements in ecosystem health, motive cooperative problem-solving, guide restoration efforts, and stimulate relevant research.

We can no longer be content to just study environmental or natural resource-related problems. The challenges and negative environmental impacts of climate change and other myriad environmental management issues are upon us. We need to use science to inspire real change. We’ll show you how.

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English, Wikang Tagalog
  • Associated programs:
  • Associated skills: Data Synthesis, Climate Variability And Change, Decision Making, Environmental Resource Management, Ecosystem Science, Problem Solving

What you'll learn

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  • How to compare and contrast different environmental approaches and socio-environmental report cards.
  • How to critique the different approaches used in environmental assessments and socio-environmental report cards.
  • How to create image-rich socio-environmental report cards that are accessible to a wide and diverse audience.
  • How to create a reporting framework for a case study to generate a socio-environmental report cards.

Module 1:

  • What are Report Cards?
  • Why Report Cards?
  • Report Card Application
  • From Qualitative to Quantitative
  • Distilling Data
  • Incorporating New Indicators
  • Evaluation of Report Card Impacts

Module 2:

  • Report Card Process
  • Enabling Conditions
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Project Planning 1
  • Project Planning 2
  • Workshop Planning
  • Facilitation and Engagement

Module 3:

  • Identifying Values and Threats
  • Identifying Indicators
  • Indicator Qualities
  • Defining Thresholds
  • Calculating Scores and Grades
  • Gaining Stakeholder Consensus

Module 4:

  • Communication strategies
  • Communicating Results
  • Designing Report Cards
  • Stakeholder-led Approach
  • Optimizing Collaborations
  • Systems Modelling

Module 5:

  • Overcoming Barriers
  • Creating and Maintaining Momentum
  • Dynamic Problem solving
  • Examples of Great Champions
  • Adaptive Governance
  • Theory of Change

Learner testimonials

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"As a beta-tester of this course, I was happy to see the content not only focused on understanding and building report cards but also included detail on the backend work and the development that goes into this kind of project. Another nice aspect to highlight is that the course also gave me the chance to use my own examples and work as I was learning in different modules; the activities build off of each other and allow the student to follow along as the report card process progresses. " - Early Access Beta Tester

"Great course, all the information was shared in an effective way. the videos were valuable and as a verified learner I got access to great extra content. The key points help you to understand better the important topics covered during the videos, and the speaker is also extremely good." Class Central Post

This course is part of Environmental Management for Sustainability Professional Certificate Program

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Expert instruction
4 skill-building courses
Progress at your own speed
5 months
5 - 8 hours per week

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